Here we are…it’s the morning of the Granary Gallery Show Opening
I want to personally thank all of you who have taken the time to read the string of Blog Posts which have lead up to today’s opening. You being with us for this ride and offering kind words of support and encouragement along the way has softened the edges of the rough parts and lightened the air here in the studio.
So…from our studio
To the red barn on Old County Road on the island of Martha’s Vineyard
And into the homes of all you friends and patrons…
Before today’s Painter’s Notes I want to give you a heads up…
There are just four more days until the Granary Gallery Show opens… Though, as you well know by now, there will not be an “Opening Reception”… the gallery is very much OPEN and the staff are doing an amazing job and going out of their way to make a safe and welcoming environment for people to get in touch with art.
Herself and I have created a video aptly titled…”Wish We Were There” …by way of letting our island community know we are there with them…at least in spirit. The gallery sent me a list of questions and Pat agreed to read them to me on camera and you can expect some frivolity ensued.
I’ll be posting that video here on the blog on Sunday Morning… we hope you’ll pour a cup of tea and join us for that short studio visit.
So…4 days and counting…
That leaves three paintings to go…and today…
we go back to Menemsha. I’ve spent so many hours on this dock that this painting almost painted itself.
The Morning Bell – 24 x 30
One of my enduring memories of that most special week we got to spend “living” in Menemsha up there on Crick Hill was wakening to the early morning sounds of the harbor.
When the wind is right you can hear the bouy bells playing a rhythmic bass line and the gulls picking out the melody
Before the charter engines crank up you can still make out the water lapping against the bigger boats some ropes and chains a’ rattlin’ against the mighty masts and…
If you’re really early enough… the putt putt putter of Louie’s trawler making her way out for the first cast of the day.
So… even though this particular painting is righteously full of the colors that bring the harbor to life for most artists
What I hear… is just as evocative as what you see.
Bless you John Prine and Bette Midler for piercing my 20 year old heart with that song. It pulled me by the teeth to the other side of a gripping depression and became a touchstone along the way for the next 40 years. I have always worn my fried egg on the outside…proudly because of you.
Me at 20 -1978
Etching from college portfolio – 1978
So I just got off the phone with my pal Peter Follansbee. I’m throwing a link to his website here …click… so that you can spend some of that extra screen time that we all have these days to visit with him and his woodworking. He, like most of us creative types, is able to continue plying his craft and is producing some fabulous new work.
Both Peter and his wife Maureen are historians who worked at Plymoth Plantation so they have a unique perspective on the 17th century. Peter’s focus was primarily on all things wood while Maureen was the textile expert. So it was that today, when we were comparing quarantine notes in our social distancing phone chat, and I brought up my own next woodworking project… Peter said Maureen wrote an article about that. He’s gonna dig it up for me… and I’m all ears…because…
As I sat in the studio kitchen one morning last week…looking out at the same view I’ve been greeted with for over a decade…the Muses lit a match.
Spark…at the end of the walkway…the centerpiece of the Morag Gamble bed…were the washtubs that Susan gave me years ago for a planter. Deb’s begonias and a few annuals bloom there every summer and brighten that corner. And the extra light that now shines there in the wake of the giant ash tree removal last year…was apparently just what the Muses needed.
Because…wait for it…they are WASH tubs.
This was the beginning of what turned out to be Olde Timey Sunday.
Well the true beginning was actually the two hours it took me to repair the hose faucet and run a line out to the tubs. But after that …well after I had to whittle a couple stoppers out of our stash of wine corks. But THEN we got it going.
The washing part was made so much easier with those tubs. But the next stage…wringing…eh not so much. My hands aren’t strong enough any more to do that. So I did some research. Of course there is a youtube video on that…and with that help I’ve figured out a way to build a wringer. Hopefully Maureen’s article about doing laundry in the 1600’s will give me a few other pointers. I’ll keep you posted on the making of the wringer…for now you can ponder on the parts list…a rolling pin and bungy cords were ordered from Amazon and the garage will need to be cleared out enough to get to the wood stack and the tools.
It always gives me an energy boost to have a new problem to solve and a project to build, and while the clothes were drying in the sunny breeze, Herself began clearing out the greenhouse…so we could get to the spinning wheel.
A small farm in Idaho where Romney Sheep are raised and where they are kind enough to send an extra gift bag for safe storage…
One of the best days of our year is the trip in May to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and one of the first dominoes to fall in our corner of this pandemic was the early cancellation of that festival. Having had to miss the last two years I was doubly sad. But social media came to the rescue and, after putting a query out to our resourceful peeps, I had several leads on where I might procure some spinning fleece.
One of the best parts of that side trip was reconnecting with Tom Knisely. A wonderful weaver friend of old who lives just over the hill from the studio and we have only now discovered that he has a new weaving/spinning retreat and workshop with his daughter Sara Bixler…oh the excitement as I get to anticipate the day when the vaccine arrives and we can go back out into the world …the very first place I will go is…
So now I’m all set.
The old wheel got some new grease. When the weather gets just a bit warmer I’ll be out there in my most peaceful place with soft silky fiber steadily spinning onto the bobbin.
The pioneering theme closed out the day with a simple quiet rise…
And there is no better way to illustrate the way that all this hand work soothes the soul …
The last few days have been grim. The siren calls from hospital workers, the mounting numbers of casualties, the criminally incompetent leadership from the oval office, the crippling anxiety that washes over us… wave after unrelenting wave.
The last few days have been sparkling. The return of the indigo bunting outside my window, flats of winter seedlings getting their first feel of wind, Finnegan laying peacefully in the sunshine, lazy conversations over the morning kitchen table with my love, and the glorious unrelenting waves… of that brilliant new green.
While I admit to finding myself frozen in my easel chair, not able to summon the creative energy to pick up even the tiniest of brushes, I am showing up every day. I know the Muses are here and I’m listening, but it sounds like static now…loudly buzzing and confusing.
And what I know about that is to get up outta that chair and go outside.
The glorious gift of having Herself by our sides during these stay at home days means Finn and I are at our happiest in our happy place… wallowing in the brightening colors of the studio garden…
My organizer using her superpower…
Anyone who needs or wants some of this plastic just holler…
While she sorted…I planted…
Two rows of peas planted in Ruth…which is a bit spicy to read back…
And…at the end of that glorious day…a bit of well earned sky chair rest…
So today’s painting will be a very early work which honors another of my love’s superpowers…
The Folder – 2000
This is quite simply inspired by my friend Rex. He is a poet. Our histories have walked side by side for over forty years. Our paths have criss-crossed over most of them. Our souls have always been as one.
And it is for Pat, my folder.
Folded things speak well of you when you’re out of the room. They hold the near future captive, like children about to go on recess or sexual pleasure at the brim of control. I think of the pressure of your hand smoothing over the cloth napkin, the bedsheet, the piece of clothing that signals the meal to come, the lovemaking, the spent day — and how you stack the bath towels as high as they’ll go, as a driver well keep the fuel tank near full during times of shortage. I step out of the shower looking to the center of my life, where you have folded it. Creases will have nothing to do with edges: It’s no accident that ledges are ledges and valleys, so far removed from any real horizon, where people most often choose to put down roots and grow. I like to imagine that God, who, faced with formlessness, folded the world into manageable corners, sent me you to repeat the gesture. Rex Wilder
There is no other human on the planet that I would rather be in quarantine with.
Your buddy Finn and I will do our best in this season of lock down to celebrate the wonders of you in our lives. We will lay a golden carpet of forsythia blooms to brighten your step, take you on a treasure hunt to find the purple crocus, and serenade you as you soak up the sunny sky chair breezes.
look out the front door and use your zoom lens you will see the barest sliver of Black Point Pond.
When I was working on this painting spring was in full bloom. The studio garden was soaking up the warming sun, with spinach, buttercrunch, land cress, hakuri turnips, cherry red radishes, and purple sprouting broccoli filling our salad bowls with life itself.
One fine day Miss Pat came over to fetch a bowlful of spring and poked her smiling face into the studio for a visit. She noticed a photo tucked into the shelf behind my easel and asked could she see it please.
It was a snap shot of the pond’s edge with a woman strolling along in a straw hat.
Oh, I LOVE this. Are you going to paint it next.
No, I said, that’s just something the camera caught while I was photographing the front yard through the door.
But I REALLY love this. It is such a soft Vineyard moment.
There has been a facebook campaign of late to flood the social networking space with art. So far I have been a lurker, learning of some new artists and revisiting some old friends…but yesterday An artist friend of particular note, Michael Allen…
This weekend we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the birth of this wonderful lady. There will be much partying and dancing and laughing and hugging and storytelling and more dancing. But then that pretty much describes every day with Miss Pat. Her spirit and spunk and giant heart are stronger for her 70 years of living but the smile behind those eyes still sparkles with youthful exuberance.
She makes every part of every day better and I am going to have to hold on tight as she leaps forward into this next decade.
You’ve got all my heart babe, consider yourself loved and